What is Foam Lamination and its Benefits?

Foam lamination is a fabric surface treatment method commonly used to enhance the structural or performance characteristics of a material. Lamination is used to waterproof materials, adds protective coatings, and is used to form a composite material (a combination of multiple materials). 

Foam Lamination in everyday items:

  • Home – insulation, mattresses, hot tub covers, tubing, hoses
  • Footwear – upper, sleeves, tongues, vent panels, pads
  • Electronics – headphone padding, soft-touch wearables, watch wristbands 
  • Sports – protective equipment, sleeves, soft grips, weight wearables 
  • Automotive – seats, seat covers, armrests, door cladding, interior fender panels, headliners soundproofing, soft-touch surfaces 
  • Medical – braces, wheelchair padding slings, device attachment, splints, gaskets, sealing 

Laminated materials are frequently composed of at least two or more layers, such as a polymeric, continuous layer, and often a foam core. Foams can be merged and laminated with other foams, textiles, backings, and coatings. The most common types of foam lamination are flame lamination and adhesive lamination. 

Different types of Foam Lamination 

Flame Lamination

It has been described as modifying the surface of the material (usually polyurethane foam) to a molten state and quickly cooling to make a cohesive bond. Flame lamination is an effective method of bonding foams and other materials like paper, fabrics, and films.

The main material used in flame lamination is polyester and polyethene, as well as papers, foils, and textile materials. 

The advantages of flame lamination:

  • No adhesive is needed
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fast and efficient 
  • The flexibility of the material 

Many large laminating specialist companies in the UK perform flame lamination on a huge scale to keep up with demand.

Adhesive Lamination

requires a bonding agent or chemical adhesive. Bonding agents can be created from pressure-sensitive adhesives or synthetic compounds like polyurethane, although some adhesive laminations require a solvent for production. 

During this process, heat is also used to help the adhesive cure. The chemical adhesives can be used on both surfaces or pre-treated onto one of the liners and then moved during the manufacturing process. 

Adhesive lamination is the preferred choice of joining substances when a film cannot. It achieves this through a process called coextrusion.

What is Industrial Lamination 

Industrial lamination is usually made from layers of fibrous reinforcements, bonded together with high-quality thermosetting resins. They can be used for a wide range of applications like electrical transformers, bearings, gears, jigs, fixtures, and thermal breaks.

Industrial lamination is also used for improving the appearance of the product, offers UV protection, helps protects the product, and makes it resistant to scratches. 

The Different Types of Industrial Lamination

Infrared Lamination

Infrared lamination creates a thin layer of molten polymer on the surface of the material being used, similar to the flame lamination process. This is done by subjecting it to infrared radiation and subsequently compressing it with another piece of material. This leaves the infrared lamination with great durability and protection.

Infrared lamination is used across the textile, automotive, and glass industries.

Hot Melt Lamination

Firstly, hot melts are applied to a material in the liquid state and then the second material is brought into contact. This then causes the adhesives to cool down and solidify quickly. Hot melt lamination bonds are always activated by heat and because it has no water, it has a short cure time.

Different from flame lamination, hot melt does not depend on the material itself to function as an adhesive. As an alternative to hot melt lamination, a separate adhesive substance is heated up evenly, supplying the rollers across the materials. 

PUR Adhesive Lamination

(Polyurethane Reactive) is a reactive hot melt adhesive that is heated before processing and then applied to its molten state. This instantly creates a bond between the materials while cooling down. 

PUR works very well with different materials and achieves a high-quality bond, with products that are usually hard to bond with. This means PUR can bond with anything instantly, making it immensely popular. PUR is also highly flexible and with its flexibility, it has many uses. Its flexibility can make it rubbery or hard. It also does not shrink or curl, even after being set, and comes in many forms. 

Flame Lamination

Flame lamination can be used in industrial lamination as well. Flame lamination is good because it is fast and efficient, environmentally friendly, no adhesives are needed, and the material is flexible.